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So Raising Goats For Meat Is “Ethical,” Apparently

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Using unwanted male goats for meat is “more ethical than putting them down,” according to Galway farmer, Paul Davis.

Davis turned to raising goats after a rise in beef prices and a exponential growth in demand for goat flesh. He seems positively enthralled by the idea that if “two chefs say they’ll take two goats every week, that’s over 200 goats a year.” He currently has 120 goats and hopes that number will double over the next month.

Davis and his partner Ami clearly harbour deep concern for the interests and rights of their goats. After all, as Ami said in The Sun, all male kids in the dairy industry are “put down” at birth: “They have no value at all to the dairy.”

Davis and Ami’s answer to that – to supposedly do right by those vulnerable beings with no economical value – is to give them a ‘legitimate’ purpose and grant them economic value. That, of course, takes the form of raising and slaughtering the goats for their flesh. Personally, I don’t know what’s more disturbing; the idea that this ‘legitimate’ exploitation and death is somehow more “ethical” than “[putting them] down at birth,” or the idea, in and of itself, that using animals as our resources at all is an okay thing to do.  Davis even makes a rather paradoxical statement with respect to climate change, too. Apparently, not “destroying male kids” is a great way for dairy farmers to improve their carbon footprint. That’s right, let Davis take them all instead and create an even bigger carbon footprint. Because logic.

What’s most sad about this story is that it’s yet again another example of how young children are desensitised to the idea of exploiting vulnerable beings. Davis and Ami have two children who apparently “[love] wiring into goat cutlets.” Instead of being taught to embrace their natural instinct to love and care for other animals, they are told that “the neck is actually one of the nicest bits” of a goat and to “cover it in oil and garlic and stick it in the oven or half an hour.” This is, according to Davis, “absolutely beautiful.”

How very sad that our perception of beauty is somehow seen as consistent with the unnecessary and unjustifiable exploitation of sentient beings. Beings whose beauty is found in their inherent value, and not on our plates. True beauty comes from the realisation that, for the purpose of being used as resources, they are our moral equals.

Davis seems to be in an ongoing battle with speciesism himself. He admits that it’s “hard not to get attached to [the goats]” and that he could never eat his sheep dogs. But at the end of the day, he has “a lot of people ringing [him] up to buy a goat for the freezer.” Our demand is the sole driver and fuel of this unjust suffering and death. Recognising the value of animals doesn’t mean giving them an economically valuable “purpose.” It means recognising that if they are not things, if they have moral value, veganism is not just a choice, it is a moral obligation.

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